NBCU Entertainment Cable Ranks First In 2007: Gaspin

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When Nielsen closes the books on 2007, it will mark a four-peat for the NBC Universal Entertainment Cable Networks with primetime viewership among key demos.

NBCU officials claim that 2007 will be the fourth consecutive year that USA Network, Sci Fi Channel and Bravo set the primetime pace as the leading entertainment cable group (excluding Oxygen which was not acquired until late November) in primetime among viewers 18 to 49 and 25 to 54.

Through Dec. 9, an NBCU analysis of Nielsen Galaxy Explorer data (live + 7 day through Nov. 25 and live + same day through Dec. 9) indicated that the three networks averaged 712,000 18-to-49 watchers, up 5.4% from the 2006 period. The NBCU Entertainment Cable Group registered a 4.2% advance to 736,000 with the 25-to-54 set, versus 683,000 for second-place Turner. Last year, the three NBCU entertainment cable services averaged 707,000 of those viewers.

Moreover, USA, Sci Fi and Bravo have now delivered 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 growth during all four years since the NBC/Universal merger created the group in 2004, according to Universal Television Group president and chief operating officer Jeff Gaspin.

“NBC Universal Cable has some of the strongest brands in television and we are experiencing great momentum,” said Gaspin in a statement. “Whether it's USA essentially being the fifth broadcast network, Sci Fi's record-breaking miniseries or Bravo's growing upscale audience, we are providing advertisers with more and more opportunities to reach consumers through first-rate content.”

Topping the highlights were USA’s record-breaking performances. For the second consecutive year, USA was the top-ranked cable network among persons 25 to 54, 18 to 49 and 18-34. It was also the No. 1 among ad-supported cable network with total viewers and households. The “characters" network enjoyed its best year ever with 1.2 million adults 18 to 49, 1.2 million adults 25 to 54, 558,000 persons18 to 34 and 2.67 million average viewers in primetime.

Led by new episodes of Monk at 9 p.m. on Fridays, USA was tops in TV with both adults 25 to 54 and 18 to 49, according to NBCU officials. Moreover, rookie hit Burn Notice pushed USA to second behind only CBS with the aforementioned demos at 10 p.m. on Thursdays during its summer run.

Behind only USA, TBS and TNT, Sci Fi was on pace to finish fourth among cable entertainment services with adults 25 to 54 in the fourth quarter. That represented its best-ever performance, one that was driven by its leading miniseries thus far, Tin Man. Through the year-to-date period, Sci Fi was up 21% among adults 18 to 34 and 35% among women 18 to 34. It had also recorded increases of 6% and 8%, respectively, among adults 25 to 54 and 18 to 49, said NBCU.

As for Bravo, the network has strung together nine consecutive quarters of year-to-year growth, setting ratings records in every key demographic and among total viewers. Additionally, Bravo's digital suite of assets -- BravoTV.com, TelevisionWithoutPity.com, OutzoneTV.com, getTrio.com and BrillianButCancelled.com -- achieved cumulative growth of 120% year-over-year in page views across all properties, according to Omniture.